GPs have largely welcomed NICE’s first guidelines on diagnosing and treating the menopause released earlier this month, in which it recommended HRT as a first-line option to deal with symptoms, a poll of the profession shows.
GP Dr Imogen Shaw, who helped devise the guideline, said she hoped the guideline would ‘empower GPs to feel more confident in discussing the benefits and risks of HRT’ and prescribing it to patients.
The survey of over 500 GPs, conducted by GPonline on behalf of pharmaceutical company Mylan, found that the majority of GPs said the guideline would increase their confidence.
Over two thirds (69%) of GPs in the poll said there was a lack of understanding among women today about menopause symptoms, effects and treatments, which was impacting on their ability to communicate with their doctor.
HRT menopause guidance
Almost half (45%) said that having more information and training on menopause could help reduce consultation times.
Dr Sarah Gray, a GPSI in women's health, described the NICE guideline as a ‘landmark’ document. ’After decades of confusion over the safety of HRT, it is hugely encouraging to have official guidelines which state that HRT is effective for treating several menopause symptoms,’ she said.
‘The menopause can often be a particularly difficult treatment area for women to discuss. This is largely due to a combination of confusion over symptoms and reluctance to discuss the topic.
'The launch of the NICE guidance will mark a new era in menopause management and treatment – making a substantial difference to the lives of hundreds of women across the UK.’
Dr Heather Currie, chairwoman of the British Menopause Society, said: ‘Our hope is that the guideline will play an important role in raising awareness of all menopausal symptoms, will encourage women to consider lifestyle changes to improve later health, and will clarify uncertainty around both prescribed and non-prescribed treatment options.’